Newspaper Article 1999 – Scottish climate, keeping busy formula for long life

Scottish climate, keeping busy formula for long life

Not many 100-year-olds can still wield an axe, but for Nellie Mundie, of Maraenui, chopping wood is still in a day’s work.

The spry centenarian enjoys gardening, weeding her roses, geraniums and dahlias and tending a small vegetable plot of peas at the home she shares with her daughter Jessie Wilson.

Up until two years ago, Mrs Mundie knitted socks and she still travels – there have been three trips to Gisborne and one to Auckland this year.

“You have got to tie her down,” says her son George, although Mrs Wilson says their mother walks less often in downtown Napier now because she is concerned about being bumped.

After 50 years living in New Zealand, Mrs Mundie still finds it odd celebrating her birthday – on Christmas Day – in the Southern Hemisphere.

“Mum always thinks of a white Christmas,” says Mrs Wilson of her mother, who was born in Logie-Coldstone, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Mrs Mundie left her home village as a 16-year-old to work as a housemaid and cook in Aberdeen. In 1950, a year after her husband died, she joined her daughter who emigrated to New Zealand with her husband in 1946.

It was a big wrench leaving friends behind in Scotland, she says, but the move has kept her close to family including her son, who lives in Gisborne, five grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and nine great-great-grandchildren.

Mrs Mundie credits her sprightliness and her deceptively youthful looks to an active life and Scotland’s climate.

“You have blazing sun here, we didn’t have,” she said. “We had mostly cold weather, frosty weather. I would recommend a cold climate. It’s a healthy cold.”

Flashing a calf, she says her doctor compares the skin on her legs with a 28-year-old’s.

Although her life will straddle three centuries and encompass many technological developments, Mrs Mundie says little has changed for her. “I was a domestic at home (in Scotland) and a domestic here.”

Her birthday, which has brought cards from the Queen and the Governor-General, will be a family occasion celebrated at a nearby church hall.

Photo caption – CENTENARIAN Nellie Mundie can still wield an axe.


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Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

24 December 1999

Creator / Author

  • John Cowpland


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • George Mundie
  • Mrs Nellie Mundie
  • Jessie Wilson

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